Working Paper

The Effects of Immigration on NHS Waiting Times

Published 16 June 2015 / By Osea Giuntella, Catia Nicodemo & Carlos Vargas-Silva

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Introduction

This paper analyzes the effects of immigration on access to health care in England. Linking administrative records from the Hospital Episode Statistics (2003-2012) with immigration data drawn from the UK Labor Force Survey, we analyze how immigrant inflows affected waiting times in the National Health Service. We find that immigration reduced waiting times for outpatient referrals and did not have significant effects on waiting times in Accident and Emergency (A&E) and elective care. However, there is evidence that immigration increased waiting times for outpatient referrals in more deprived areas outside London. These effects are concentrated in the years immediately following the 2004 EU enlargement and vanish in the medium-run (e.g., 3 to 4 years). Our findings suggest that these regional disparities are explained by both differences in the health status of immigrants moving into different local

Keywords

Immigration, waiting times, access to health care, welfare

Project

Immigration and the NHS

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